changing the way local information is delivered
Before the time of Internet, the main ways of accessing information were local newspapers, community noticeboards, community meetings, local TV and Radio stations. All this have changed during the rise of Internet. When computers became one of the household must-have devices, boosted by growing popularity of broadband, the World Wide Web became the main source of information available to virtually everybody and still is. Now, the Smartphone brought access to information outside of our homes; on the street, when we relax, drive our cars, go on holidays. Smartphone became our everyday companion, our pocket size assistant, our door to the world of information on-the-go! The rise of Smartphone has changed the way people are accessing local information.
There are many local websites in almost every location. They are better or worse, developed by professionals or by amateurs but one thing is in common to most of them – you can view them easily on your desktop or on a laptop computer, but they are hardly effective, as a source of information on the currently most popular mobile device, the Smartphone. Today 81% of UK adult population, including 91% of 18-44-year-olds, use their Smartphone everyday (*).
Smartphone - a mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, Internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded apps (source: English Oxford Living Dictionaries) – currently used as the most convenient device for accessing any information, including local information, about local business, maps, location, traffic, services, advertisement, walks, events, emergency information, etc.
Another indication of the need for such a service is the rise of many “mobile first”, Web development of or so called “front-end” frameworks, like Bootstrap (version 2 developed in 2012, version 3 in 2013 and version 4 in 2015). Re-developing your website, to make it mobile friendly, is not cheap. Besides, after the website is developed it must be promoted, positioned on search engines, and it is even a bigger issue which is costly and done mostly by global companies. Promoting a local business, selling local product or service, globally is not the best idea as it will reach millions of Internet user around the world, and possibly generate massive traffic on the site, but most of it would be irrelevant to a local business.
*Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016, “There is no place like phone”
Many search engines, e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, have introduced localized search. However, there is very little control over the content of displayed informaton as it is still from a global companys' perspective and does not address the issue of delivering a relevant local information, shaped by the local people, in the form we all want it – on the Smartphone. People don’t want to see a website of a local company on the screen of their home computer, then print it and take it with them. People are expecting to be able to find local information, that is relevant to them and easily accessible with one or two taps on the screen of their mobile phone, and take it with them without printing or otherwise storing it on yet another media.
App versus Browser (Website) – Apps are one of the most disruptive innovations of the last decade and have been pivotal to the commercial success of the Smartphone. Millions of Apps are now available to the Smartphone consumer (…) But Apps are not always the best approach and should not be considered as default. While for some categories – most obviously, games – the App is almost always the right way to go, there may be instances in which browser is preferred. In few cases obliging users to download an app might repel potential customers from using it (*).